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The Witch Doctor's Wife (Belgian Congo Mystery) Kindle Edition

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Length: 319 pages Word Wise: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Myers draws on her own experiences as the daughter of white missionaries living in the Belgian Congo for this dazzling novel full of authentic African lore. In 1958, Amanda Brown and her fellow passengers suffer only minor injuries when the plane bringing them to the diamond mining community of Belle Vue makes a crash landing. The 23-year-old South Carolina native, who's spent six months in Belgium studying French and the Congolese language of Tshiluba, has come to Belle Vue to run a missionary guesthouse, where she soon employs one of a local witch doctor's two wives, the delightful, no-nonsense Cripple. The discovery of a huge uncut diamond sets off a chain of unfortunate events leading to Cripple's being charged with murder. This marks a major breakthrough for Myers as she displays storytelling skills not recently seen in the claustrophobic confines of her Pennsylvania-Dutch (Batter Off Dead) and Den of Antiquity (Poison Ivory) mystery series. (Nov.)
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From Booklist

A prim missionary, a sleazy executive, and a humble witch doctor are all players in Myers’ captivating debut set in the Congo in the 1950s. As the novel opens, young South Carolina missionary Amanda Brown weathers a rocky flight en route to her new post as manager of a missionary guesthouse in tiny Belle Vue. It is a harbinger of the challenges that await her. Though small and primitive, Belle Vue is populated by many larger-than-life personalities, from Amanda’s cranky housekeeper (with the wonderfully odd name, Protruding Navel) to the local witch doctor’s wife, whose limp leads people to underestimate her—at their peril. The discovery of a large uncut diamond draws out the sinister side of Belle Vue’s inhabitants, and Amanda soon finds herself caught up in the chaos. Myers, author of the Den of Antiquity and Pennsylvania Dutch mysteries, was born and raised in the Congo, and she writes vividly about her childhood home. Fans of Alexander McCall Smith are sure to relish this opportunity to learn about another intriguing area of Africa. --Allison Block

Product Details

  • File Size: 433 KB
  • Print Length: 319 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0061727830
  • Publisher: HarperCollins e-books; Original edition (September 30, 2009)
  • Publication Date: October 20, 2009
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002R2OFL4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #266,087 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Tamar Myers, who is of Mennonite background, is the author of the Pennsylvania Dutch mysteries and the Den of Antiquity series. Born and raised in the Congo, she lives in North Carolina.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By M. F. Barry on January 1, 2010
Format: Paperback
"The Witch Doctor's Wife" by Tama Meyers tells the story of the diamond industry in The Congo in the late `50's. What makes this story interesting is that the author was born and raised in The Congo so this fictional story takes on an even greater meaning. What detracts from this story is the multitude of characters - some underdeveloped, some appearing to be just place holders and others serving a distinct purpose. I put the down about half way through and had a hard time trying to remember who was who and where the story was going.

While the first third of the book was very interesting - setting the story up, giving great background and detail of The Congo (you feel you can hear the water falls!) and introducing the plucky main character. From there the story dissolves with the introduction of too many supporting characters, the mystery and ultimately the climax at the ending. There was too much going on at the end of the story and too many of the plots resolved too quickly.

While I enjoyed this book, I felt that it needed a good editing and a decrease in supporting characters. If Ms. Meyers intends to have a sequel, my suggestion would be to stick to the main character in the story - the location. I was ready to book a trip to the dark continent while reading the book!
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By N. Wadel on January 7, 2010
Format: Paperback
Loved this book! Well for one I love reading about different countries and cultures.
The setting is in the Belgian Congo. The characters are Amanda, who is a missionary who has come to take the place of the missionary's who are running the missionary guest house. She finds herself in culture shock, so many differences between the American and the Belgians.
The witch doctor who goes by the name of Their Death. He has 2 wives, Cripple and Second Wife. Their Deaths son, Baby Boy is sucking on a rock. The rock is a diamond. The diamond mine in the Belgian is owned by the Consortium and anyone caught with a diamond faces stiff fines and the whip. Their Death cannot smuggle the diamond for fear of getting caught so he decides he will confront his boss, the Postmaster to sell him the diamond. Many events happen after this meeting that makes you want to keep reading to find out what happens! The end was unexpected and surprising. The only part that I would say didn't need to be in the book was about the Nigerian man but maybe it was to make a point on the seriousness of the diamonds.
I give this one 5 stars because it is an excellent read!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Avid Reader on November 24, 2011
Format: Paperback
This novel was amazing! I absolutely loved the interactions between Amanda, the American missionary, and First Wife (I cannot reveal First Wife's name because it's key to the hilarious interactions and cultural confusion between First Wife and Amanda). Seeing the Americans and Europeans through the eyes of the Congolese was both fascinating and humorous.

Although this novel is set up as a mystery with greed corrupting all involved, the heart of the novel is the relationships and the characters. Tamar Myers did an excellent job developing her characters, particularly The Witch Doctor, First Wife, Second Wife, and Amanda, the American missionary. The novel was intriguing, fascinating, and humorous and is not to be missed. Another aspect of the novel I enjoyed was that each chapter begins with a fascinating blurb about the people, animals, and environment of the Congo. I felt that I learned a great deal about the Belgian Congo while enjoying an entertaining novel.

I couldn't wait to pick this book up every chance I got and cannot emphasize this enough. I carried this book with me everywhere I went until I finished because I couldn't bear to not have it by my side. I would actually rate it 4.5 stars if I could. The only thing that keeps it from being five stars is that the ending wasn't quite satisfying because I would have liked the mystery to be wrapped up with a little more information and detail.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Debra Hamel VINE VOICE on October 23, 2009
Format: Paperback
Tamar Myers' The Witch Doctor's Wife is set in the Belgian Congo in 1958. There are increasing demands at this time for Congolese independence from Belgian rule. But before they are compelled to cede power to the natives, the Belgians mean to extract as much profit as possible from the country's diamond mines. The town of Belle Vue, situated near a waterfall in the Kasai River, is largely under the authority of the mining consortium that owns the mineral rights to much of the surrounding area. The social divide between the white colonialists and the black natives is enormous, almost unbridgeable, and most of the Belgians in the country are racist and dictatorial in their relationships with the natives.

Against this backdrop Myers introduces a handful of characters: a witch doctor/post office groundskeeper and his two wives, the witch doctor's Belgian boss, a young American missionary, a Portuguese store owner. There is also a mysterious Nigerian who flies into the country with the missionary and then makes himself scarce for reasons that are not at once divulged. Myers explores what happens to this cast when one of them discovers an impossibly large gem, a diamond larger than anything that's ever been found in the area. It's worth a fortune, but profiting from it, given the iron grip of the Consortium on the country's resources, may not be possible.

The Witch Doctor's Wife is an unusual and unusually interesting read. It offers fascinating information about the culture of the Belgian Congo--the author was born and raised there--both within the story proper and in the explanatory paragraphs with which each chapter opens. The book defies the reader's expectations, in part because some of the story's threads end quite abruptly.
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